Yes! It’s my annual “new to me” top 10 post: the top music I’ve come across over the past year, based on Last.fm scrobbles. Here’s the chart:
Bubbling under: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone (70), Little Boots (70), Bad Lieutenant (59), The xx (50), The Hidden Cameras (44), St Vincent (26, all in the last week of the year).
The main difference compared with previous years is where I’m coming across new stuff. For the past few years, eMusic has been my main source for discovering new music. This year, it’s been eclipsed by a combination of Twitter and Spotify, to the extent that I’m still pondering whether to ditch my eMusic subscription.
The Twitter/Spotify dynamic has encouraged two other trends: first, being surprised by artists I wouldn’t have expected to like (Amanda Palmer, Public Enemy, Lily Allen); second, rediscovering old music that had previously passed me by for one reason or another (Tindersticks, Cocteau Twins, The Auteurs). Arguably The Auteurs shouldn’t be on the list, as I used to own their New Wave album on CD and got rid of it some years ago: Spotify enabled me to discover, belatedly, just how foolish a decision that had been.
Another way to discover new music in the social media age: Camera Obscura and The Clientele both cropped up in replies to tweets I’d posted saying “Can’t think of anything to listen to, anyone got any suggestions?”
Rather than writing an essay about each artist, here is a sample track for each one. The links are to YouTube videos, to avoid excluding the Spotify-challenged, but if you do have Spotify then I’ve also set them up as a playlist:
- Amanda Palmer (Twitter, Spotify, YouTube): Leeds United, Ampersand.
- Tindersticks (Spotify): Travelling Light (in which the Tindersticks and Carla Jorgensen channel Nancy & Lee).
- Public Enemy (Twitter, Spotify): Welcome to the Terrordome.
- Gillian Welch (eMusic): April the 14th Part 1 (if you have Spotify, also check out I Dream a Highway in all its 14m 44s glory)
- Cocteau Twins (eMusic): Heaven or Las Vegas.
- Lily Allen (Twitter): F**k You (a sadly-appropriate anthem for a year where the BNP has enjoyed a higher profile than ever before; also: *language warning*, in case the title wasn’t enough of a hint!).
- The Auteurs (Spotify): Show Girls.
- Doves (Spotify): Kingdom of Rust. (Though the finest contribution made to my musical world by Manchester this year is this glorious, must-watch video for Elbow’s cover of Independent Woman.)
- The Clientele (Twitter, Spotify): I Hope I Know You.
- Camera Obscura (Twitter, eMusic): Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken (replaced on the Spotify playlist by French Navy).
But to conclude this post, a video that highlights a large part of the appeal of Amanda Palmer: her direct and transparent relationship with her fans (she wrote the song and posted it straight onto YouTube as part of a discussion about Lady Gaga), her engaging personality, her humour and her incisive songwriting. Enjoy!